By Meg Handlin – Senior Client Manager & PR Strategist
It’s been a decade since Democrats last controlled the governorship and both chambers of the Legislature. Will Governor-elect Janet Mills’ campaign pledges become a reality? If so, how will Maine’s economy respond?
At today’s Portland Press Herald Business Breakfast (11/28/18), business editor Carol Coultas moderated an election results panel discussion with Josh Tardy of Rudman Winchell, Michael Saxl of Maine Street Solutions, and Kim Cook of Government Strategies.
Overall the panel was quite optimistic. All the speakers believed that both parties had excellent leadership. But what changes do they see coming in the near future?
Josh Tardy sees opportunity for consensus building and sees the super majority budget bill as most important.
Kim Cook anticipates Medicaid expansion, more services to address the opioid crisis, and initiatives around student loan debt, juvenile retention and maternal healthcare.
Mike Saxl sees workforce development as a top priority. He believes the community college system and apprenticeship programs will play a greater role in training needed workers. He also believes healthcare, Medicaid expansion, and adult dental care support will be top policy initiatives.
All the panelists agreed that Human Resources bills addressing sick time, family medical leave, and minimum wage are likely.
Renewable energy will be back in the spotlight. Wind, solar, and offshore energy sources are likely to happen. This is a great job creation opportunity. A shutdown of renewables will be restarted.
Broadband is also one of Mills’ proposed economic development tools and many predict it will be a major priority. Rural districts are in the most need, and it’s a matter of funding mechanisms.